As a teenager I had terrible spots. It wasn't acne and I thank my lucky stars for that, but I had a lot of spots and they made my life miserable.
Clearasil was my go-to product and I also remember spreading honey all over my face as I’d probably read in Just Seventeen magazine that it had healing properties. I also frequently used my mum's sun lamp, which makes me cringe now but back then we didn't know the skin cancer risks. And, definitely once, I remember baking my honey covered face under that aforementioned lamp…my bedroom must have smelt like a bloody 'hog roast'! But, joking aside, I was miserable and slightly obsessed with trying to get the perfect, spot free face I dreamed of. Nor did it help that my best friend at the time had the very complexion I yearned for!
There were times when I was so self-conscious of my skin that I wouldn't leave the house. I would glance at myself in the mirror by the front door and was so embarrassed by what I saw, would burst into tears and retreat back into my room feeling very sorry for myself for the rest of the day (or more). It never occurred to me to seek medical help for my skin and obviously it didn't occur to my mum either - I think we just thought I would grow out of it.
To a point I did but, even now, aged 43, I rarely have a spot free day. There have been times in my adult life that my skin has flared up so badly, and been so painful, that I've sought medical and nutritional advice which, thankfully, helped (though didn't stop the scarring, sadly).
Right now, as I type this post, I'm suffering a spotty phase again that has lasted weeks. Yet, unlike in my teens, I can't just stay indoors and hide. I’m a mum, there’s a school run to do, I have a job and clients to see, so hiding in the house with my tail between my legs, is not an option.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s because a) it’s good to talk about these things and I've never written about my skin before b) there’s a product I want to tell you about that saves my day and lets me carry on as ‘normal’ and c) being a personal stylist isn't always about clothes. Sometimes, it's the little extra touches to make-up or personal grooming that can make all the difference to how we look, feel and how others regard us.
Now, before you get excited and think I've found a miracle cure for bad skin, I haven’t - sorry. Or if you’re about to stop reading because you think I've been sponsored by some company to promote their range of skin healing herbal pills or something of the like, that’s not the case either.
The product that saves my day (and my face) is Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Concealer. This is proper cover-up which also treats the blemish. You put it on your spots in the morning and it lasts all day as it doesn't slide off like some waxy counterparts might.
"It’s not about your Touche Eclat technic you know and it’s not about those waxy sticks that you twist round and round and round" (extra points to those that can tell me what the original lyrics are!).
I’m aware that covering something up isn't always the right approach and that I need to get to the bottom of why I’m having these outbreaks because, although I don’t lead a Gwyneth Paltrow kind of life or own a Nutribullet or similar gadget, I do look after myself - fruit, veg, exercise, daily skin cleansing routine, drinking water etc.
I’d like to get more sleep but that’s the dream of most parents I would imagine and it’s not always something we have control over. Same goes for stress levels, I try to keep them in check, but as the saying goes, ‘what the mind suppresses, the body expresses’.
The thing is, I know lots of people who have less sleep and are under more stress than I am and they have perfectly good skin. I also know people who don’t care much for healthy eating either and (very annoyingly) they have flawless skin! My skin is obviously my weak spot (no pun intended) and it needs extra TLC.
As mentioned already, I have sought help before. About 11 years ago I enlisted the help of a nutritionist and went on a diet that was extremely limited and very difficult but it had amazing results. And the second time was about 5 years ago when the doctor gave me some cream that also blitzed the zits.
Now, until I've sorted my spots this time round, either with the help of a doctor, nutritionist, skin therapist or a tweak to my diet (maybe I need to ditch the nightly glass of vino?!), at least I have my tube of sanity.
If any of you out there are suffering from spots and want to try this concealer, I want to share with you my technique for applying it.
You will need:
A cotton bud
A clean finger
A clean, moisturised, spotty face
4) Immediately, using your finger, blend it in by patting lightly. Do not rub. The concealer dries very quickly so make sure you don't dilly-dally otherwise you wont be able to blend it very well.
A little goes a long way and that’s why I apply it like this. If you apply it with your finger, you are likely to apply too much and be disappointed with the results.
Of course, there would be little point in not showing you 'before and after' pictures - so here they are.
1 - A bit of moral support for others suffering with spots - you're not alone!
2 - A healthy dose of realism. We're all bombarded with 'perfect' images that are filtered, distorted, airbrushed and overly posed and I think they can make us feel quite inadequate. It also gets very boring and samey and so it's refreshing to see some real life in a blog - no filters or Photoshop here my friends!
I'll be back next week...see you then!